A few weeks ago at church, we were reading one of my favorite stories in the New Testament. A boy, blind since birth, was given sight again by Jesus. For those who aren’t familiar with the story, the disciples walked by this boy and asked Jesus who had sinned to make him blind, him or his parents. Jesus answered that neither had sinned; it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him (John 9:3).
Jesus then bent over, spit into some clay on the ground to make a mud and put it over the boy’s eyes, telling him afterward to go wash in the pool of Siloam. It was after the washing that he gained sight. People were shocked and asking if it was the same boy since he could see now. He was brought to the Pharisees who asked him how he received his sight and about the “man” that had enabled this to happen.
Now that’s the part of the story I’ve always loved and remembered….Jesus taking His own spit and the dust of the ground to perform a miracle. It’s beautiful. But what gut-checked me is what we read after that sweet part of the story.
As the Pharisees questioned him, unbelieving what the boy had to say, they called out to his parents and asked them if he was truly their son and how he could now see. The parents’ response? “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself,” (John 9:20b-21).
Wow. For fear of excommunication from the worship and fellowship of the church (John 9:22), these parents threw their child, who historians say was somewhere aged 13-20, under the bus to answer for himself. Was it hurtful? Yes. In the end, was the boy thrown out of the synagogue? Yes again. Did the parents act maliciously towards the boy? No.
I would like to think that I’m “so much better” than those parents who cowered to peer pressure, but I know I’m not. I’ve done things and I’ve said things that have hurt my children. Where there should have been trust, they may have found doubt. Where there should have been attention, there was times of disregard. Sometimes as parents, even when we do everything in our power to protect our children, fear and lies of the devil creep up and overtake. Then we’re left heartbroken at the end because we didn’t stand up to the pressures of the world and our children become collateral damage.
Parents, guardians, aunts, uncles, grandparents, we are human. We make mistakes. What we do with those mistakes is what’s important. Seek forgiveness from God for the sin committed, and if necessary, ask the child for forgiveness. My girls have heard me say more than once “I’m sorry” for something I’ve done. They appreciate it and it models a humble heart.
I’ll never be a perfect parent but with God’s help, I’ll keep getting better and better at it.